Our neighbors seemed to have made all the right moves in ensuring a financially comfortable retirement. While we plan to sit on our porch chair this Memorial Day Weekend or do that PowerPoint Presentation for a client, they will be off at a five-star hotel in the Hamptons.
But then we realize that eventually most of us wind up in the same situation: having to watch our pennies as we age.
Today I had the shock of my envious life.
A long-time acquaintance confided in me. She told me that after she and her husband sell their house, the traveling will be over.
Repairs which were required in the inspection report had cost them more than they expected. She isn't making as much from her business as before. Poor health caused her husband to quit the job he took after retiring from his first career. She added, poignantly, "Everyone we know is running out of money."
If they aren't running out of money yet, they are getting nervous. Many, like this couple, are selling their primary asset: the house. There will be a reserve of money from that. But, they are also bumping into the reality that rents are very high. And getting higher.
For example, a friend from graduate school is based in Baltimore, Maryland. She loves it. Eventually, she will sell her house. Property taxes are the tipping point. But the rub is that a 700-square-foot one bedroom, one-bath in her neighborhood goes for $1,500. In addition, for her dog to also bunk there would cost an additional $50 a month. Her plan was for a two-bedroom.
The way I achieved some kind of financial balance was relocating to low-cost Tucson, Arizona, from high-cost Connecticut. Not only rent is less. So are bills for car insurance, the vet, and hair styling. Tomorrow I am going to try out dental tourism. Will pile into the SUV with my new friends. About two hours away is a dental clinic in Mexico which does procedures for less than a third of what they cost even here in AZ.
My ability to navigate the financial challenges of aging has filled me with such a sense of satisfaction. That is way up there with how I felt when I landed my first corporate job.